KAPAA — The Warriors kicked off the 2017 campaign with a win at home.
Kapaa High School’s varsity boys volleyball team defeated Kauai High, 3-1, Tuesday evening at the Bernice Hundley Gym.
“Leading up to this match, I think we were all a little anxious and excited to get the season started,” said Kapaa head coach Kapule Kaona. “We’ve had a few weeks to put things into practice. To apply those things that we’ve been working on, it’s great to come out with a win.”
After being edged in the opening set, Kapaa (1-0 KIF) won the following three sets by sizable margins — 25-16, 25-15 and 25-4.
“We’ve been trying to work on mental toughness throughout the game,” Kaona said about recovering after the first set. “I’m not worried so much about the physicality of the game. It was more about their mental toughness.”
“So, I think that’s where it came. It was the mental toughness. That’s what we talked about in the locker room,” he continued. “It was what brought us that win tonight — to be able to just roll, keep rolling, staying on top of that game and letting what happened in set one happen in set two, three or four.”
Warriors senior outside hitter Carson Schmick sealed the victory with a match-winning ace in the fourth. Schmick was Kapaa’s offensive leader with 20 kills and six aces.
“That one felt good,” Schmick said of the ace. “I had the moral support of my teammates backing me up on that one, just giving me positive reinforcement. I just went up and swung, and it was fun.”
Schmick added of the season-opening win: “We all played well — team volleyball. The first, we had a few mistakes which led to our energy being lower, and our communication (suffered). Kauai High is a great team and they’ll capitalize on that. We eventually found it in the second, third and fourth. We had that energy back, that spirit back, and we fought back to win it.”
Kauai High (0-1 KIF) won the night’s opening set, 25-23.
The Red Raiders rallied from a six-point deficit and tied the game at 20-20 off an ace by senior outside hitter Avery Ramos. Kauai senior middle blocker Tajh Mapuhi got the set-winning kill.
Kauai head coach Enoch Aana was not pleased with his team’s performance in the season opener, but is hopeful for better results as the season goes on.
“As a coach, I want to be positive. That’s my main thing, but we also got to keep it real,” Aana said. “I’m not here to sugar-coat anything. When we don’t play well, we can’t praise people that don’t play well. That’s just a fact of life. And I praise Kapaa. They played extremely well tonight, and they were the better team.”
Warriors senior setter Jayson Hawthorne got a game-high 31 assists and one kill for Kapaa. Senior middle Saxsen Shiira had 12 kills. Sophomore libero Pomai Rabago-Kaiwi got six digs and four aces.
Red Raiders senior outside hitter Tyron Libarios- Moses had four kills, five assists, two digs and an ace for Kauai High. Senior setter Jhay-Carl Miguel had 12 assists. Sophomore outside hitter Kaimani Tecson had four kills and three digs.
Mapuhi ended with three kills and a dig. Ramos had three digs and an ace.
Kauai High swept Kapaa in the junior varsity contest — winning all three sets, 25-18, 25-20 and 25-19.
In the night’s other varsity match, Waimea (1-0 KIF) defeated Island School in straight sets, 25-16, 25-10 and 25-16.
Kapaa will play at Waimea, and Kauai High will play at Island School (0-1 KIF) on Friday. The JV matches will begin 5 p.m., and the varsity will follow.